Peter and the Starcatcher | The Repertory Theatre St. Louis

Peter 75Peter and the Starcatcher leaves the old wishing to be young again, and it leaves the young clinging to their youth.


 

 

 

 

Peter 500

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Rick Elice’s Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to the famous story of Peter Pan. Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher is a play that is as silly as it is touching.

The play is set in 1885 and introduces 13-year-old Molly Aster, an apprentice “starcatcher” who has special powers. She ends up on a ship with an orphan boy of the same age, and together they embark on an adventure to protect magical “starstuff” from a menacing (yet comical) pirate. In the process, the story reveals how Peter became Peter Pan, how Captain Hook lost his hand, and how Tinkerbell came about.

The Repertory Theatre put on a beautiful and effective production of Peter and the Starcatcher. This play could easily please both adults and children, with just enough humor that caters to both audiences. The theatre company should also be praised for its innovative solutions to creating special effects with such a small stage. Lighting, small props, and a lot of imagination were used instead of a grand set design. But instead of falling short, the play used the small set to its advantage in creating better imagination for the audience.

The lead two lead protagonists, Peter (Spencer Davis Milford) and Molly (Betsy Hogg) are excellently cast. It seemed as if they were performing on Broadway (which, to no surprise, Hogg did perform in the play’s original Broadway run). Peter and Molly were brought to life, not just as the young teenagers they are supposed to be, but as much deeper than that. Their performances were something magical, just as Peter and the Starcatcher intends to be.

Although all the actors on stage fit their roles perfectly, the one who stole the show was Jeffrey C. Hawkins as the villain Black Stache. He was absolutely hilarious and never failed to make the audience laugh with his over-the-top, know-it-all behavior (yet he knew so little). For the comedic role that Black Stache is made out to be, no one could have played him better than Hawkins did.

Even after all the comedy (the beginning of the second act got a little out of hand), there was still room to tug at the audience’s heartstrings. The finale and conclusion to the play were heavy yet uplifting in a way that could have left any audience member welling up with tears of sadness and joy. There is so much hope for youth and freedom in this play, and the story of Peter and the Starcatcher leaves the old wishing to be young again, and it leaves the young clinging to their youth. | Emily Van de Riet

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ Peter and the Starcatcher runs at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University through December 27. To purchase tickets, visit the Rep Box Office inside the Loretto-Hilton Center, call (314) 968-4925, or visit The Rep’s website at http://www.repstl.org.

Photo by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

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